You seem upset. I suppose you know, then, that I went to the pond of regrets to see the future, even though you forbade me from doing so.
‘That place is for us ferrymen,’ you’d said, shaking your bony finger at me. ‘Not for guests of death trying to bargain their way back to life.’
I remember how pleased I was when you said as much. Pleased at the thinly veiled implication that you were, in fact, letting me try and win my life back.
But I couldn’t help myself.
I had to see her.
If it brings some manner of comfort, I didn’t see anything about me, or anything that hinted to whether I come back or not. As I peered into the water, I asked simply to see Her in a quiet moment of reflection.
Just that. Nothing more and nothing less.
She was on a swing. This strange yet familiar older woman swung smoothly under the moon and starlit sky, lost in thought. She looked so elegant, her long hair swinging, following her body and occasionally obscuring it like a veil.
I wanted to know why she was alone, which was stupid of me, I suppose. Had I not requested the mirror show me a vision of her and only her? I’d asked to see her alone, and yet there I was, upset to see her in such a way.
Swinging, and swinging, and swinging, not a word to share, and a million thoughts I couldn’t know. Maybe she wasn’t upset. Maybe she liked being alone, which wouldn’t surprise me about a person such as her.
And yet, to me, the idea of Twilight Sparkle being alone was terrifying.
And then a thought struck me—blindsided me much like dying had. Shook me so much that I had to come and tell you my thoughts even if it meant confessing that I’d disobeyed your demands.
I realized I wasn’t afraid of dying. A silly thing to say, evidently, especially now considering I am dead, but it still struck me. To be dead isn’t something that upsets me nearly as much as the idea of Twilight being alone does.
Maybe not this Twilight, this Lady of the future I do not know, but certainly my Twilight, the one whose arms I died in.
I’ll admit I wasn’t sure if I ought to be telling you this. It seems rather… Ah, what’s the word? Ill-conceived? Here I come, marching to my ferryman of death, and telling them that, actually, I don’t mind being dead, all the while still trying to convince them to take me back.
Not because I want my life back, but because I can’t bear to miss out on Twilight’s.
But that’s not reason enough, is it? I’m sure many people here miss those they left behind on Earth. Why should I be given an allowance? Why did I deserve an allowance?
I left shortly after that. I was already remiss to have disobeyed, and I needed to collect my thoughts before I spiraled into some truly dark place. I understood then why it was called the pond of regrets. Should have really known better, shouldn’t I?
I wandered the halls of your home—our home, I suppose—passing by other guests of death, all content to be here. At peace. And I couldn’t understand it. I couldn’t fathom it. I still can’t.
You remember what you said to me, don’t you? Back when I first arrived, when you led me and others newly departed on a charming tour of our new permanent home.
‘All you need to be content can be found here,’ you’d said. ‘No matter what is it, what your need may be, we will provide. Hospitality can always be found in the great vast beyond. You only need to ask.”
But that was a lie. That is a lie.
Twilight isn’t here, and the thought consumed me as I lost myself in these endless halls that transformed before my very eyes. Call me dependent, needy, or what have you, but to not have her here, to not be able to share things with her anymore…
So, I stopped and did as you’d said.
I asked for an answer. I demanded of the great vast beyond some guidance, something to show me if this was a bargain worth fighting for. If I had a chance.
A door appeared before me. White as snow, pale as my skin the day I died.
I opened it and stepped not into a room as I’d expected, but out into a quiet plaza that was strikingly familiar, including the fountain in its center. This was a plaza from back home, you see. One that Lady Celestia often took me to as a child, to have a picnic or sit and read a book.
For a brief moment, I almost wondered if you’d brought me back to life. I really, really thought you had, and I half-expected to see Twilight there, too.
I wish you could have seen my face when I saw a woman sitting on the edge of the fountain.
A strikingly, endlessly beautiful black-haired woman whom I recognized from head to toe if only because I’d walked past her statue a million times when I used to walk back home.
There she sat, her hand reaching inside the fountain, entranced by whatever she was doing or seeing.
It’s hard to describe what I felt. Of course, in the back of my mind, I always knew Sapphire had to be here somewhere. She was dead. Where else would she be?
But it had never occurred to me that I could find her; this woman whom I’d heard about in whispers and stories from Lady Luna, and in hidden photographs and notes I’d found as a child in the mansion.
She must have heard me, or sensed me at the very least, for she turned away from the water and towards me, a smile parting her lips as I took in her deep sapphire eyes.
“Hello,” she said, and her voice was beautiful. Gentle like nothing I’d ever heard before. A warm breeze on a sunny day.
“Hello,” I stammered, taken aback by the fact that she was addressing me.
She tilted her head to the side. “Is everything all right?”
“No,” I said. “I don’t know, honestly. I’m trying to convince death to bring me back to life.”
Her eyes sparkled as she laughed, delighted. Shining gems I was bewitched by. “Are you? Huh! And? How is it going?”
“I don’t know. Well, I think? He seems interested, at the very least. He hasn’t asked me to leave him alone yet.”
“You do seem interesting,” she added, playfully.
“I am.” When she laughed, I felt embarrassed at how full of myself I was, even though it was true that I am quite interesting, thank you very much. “But I went to the pond of regrets—you know, the one that shows you the lives of those below?—and I came to a terrible realization, so I asked for guidance, and I was brought here to you.”
“To me?” she asked, genuinely surprised. “Why?” She furrowed her brow. “Do I know you?”
“No,” I said, “but I know you.” I faltered. Then said, “My name is Rarity. I’m the protegé of Celestia. I believe you knew her?”
If before she’d been relaxed, now she sat ramrod straight, completely changed. She regarded me in a whole new light, a thousand million emotions warring in her eyes. Fear, anxiety, curiosity, wonder.
All of it.
“Celestia?” she said, slowly, slowly, slowly, every syllable given extreme, suffocating weight. She leaned back, tense. “You’re her ‘protegé’? As in…are you her child?”
“No. Well. Ah… Somewhat? Not in blood, at least. She never had children. Or got married,” I replied, and the relief in her eyes was evident. Until she tensed up again, her blue eyes searching behind me.
“Oh, God. Is she…?” She gestured around vaguely.
“Dead? No,” I replied. “Not yet. I just happened to have died, ah… prematurely, as it were.”
Her expression softened, finding in me a kindred soul. If only she knew this was in more ways than one.
“I’m sorry to hear that.” She hesitated. “I… Is she doing well?”
“Relatively, but honestly, who knows how anyone can be well after I’ve died.”
She laughed, and I felt oddly pleased. “You’re funny,” she noted. “She picked her protegé well. I…” She paused. ” I’m surprised she never married. Always figured she’d marry a—” Hurt plagued her voice.”—a ‘respectable young man’.”
“Oh, no. Romance wasn’t for her.” I wondered if I should say more. Or let on how much I knew. “She told me once as a child that there had been somebody, but that was a long time ago. Before I was born, I believe.”
Sapphire’s eyes burned into me. “Oh, really,” she said, her careful concern about Celestia suddenly transforming into… not anger, really, but distrust. Pained distrust, the one I had regarded Celestia with for so, so long.
“I’ll admit… Rarity?” At my nod, she continued. “I’m not sure why you were brought here. If we are talking about the same Celestia I knew, then I think you should know she thought very, very little of me,” she said, every word careful, suffused in resentment not meant for me, but still recognizable. The same resentment and pain that had consumed me once upon a time, led me to a mansion to yell at Twilight Sparkle and Celestia, wishing they’d both die and rot and take me with them.
Funny, isn’t it? In a chilling sort of way.
There, but for the grace of God, sat I.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “but I don’t think I can help you.”
That’s when it happened.
Suddenly, I understood why I was there with as much clarity as I knew I loved Twilight Sparkle. I think it was precisely because I loved Twilight so much that I understood. A rejection like that, so personal and deep and profound from someone you love dearly, I don’t think even death would have ever completely healed me.
“No,” I replied, “but if you can forgive me being so forward, I think I’m meant to help you.”
She blinked at me, completely thrown. I want to say indignant, and I wouldn’t have blamed her if she were, but she was simply thrown. Startled, but not offended.
“Yes.” I stepped forward. “I work at the Sapphire Carousel. A brothel founded by Luna, whom I assume you know and were close with since she named it after you.”
And for the second time, Sapphire Snow’s expression changed, her eyes widening.
I gestured to the spot next to her, because I am insane and now intend on not just convincing you to bring me back to life, dear friend, but I also intend on bringing proper closure to a wholly different story that was never allowed one.
“May I sit?”
Me, having just finished TEK: jesus christ, I can’t believe I managed to pull it off. This has to be the story with the most simultaneous plot threads I’ll ever write. I’m never attempting this again in my life.
Sapphire Eyes: Hold my lipstick.
– – –
I have a small headache rn so I don’t have much to write about the chapter except that, for those of you updated on the lore of my comic project The Last Resort, yes, all those hints to the vast were intentional because I’ve absolutely decided Mr. Bones is the death character here and you are now obligated to recontextualize Crimson Lips under this new mental image of Mr. Bones being very upset Rarity and Twilight keep having drama instead of kissing.
Also if you see any typos, pls let me know (you can toggle your comment to be private if you want to keep it between you and me and make sure no one knows I make typos).